Wednesday, 21 January 2015

How to be Established in State of Highest Wisdom

In the Sky, there is no distinction of East & West; people create distinction out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

~ Buddha

Hi Friends

I have been avoiding this topic for a long time but the piling of questions regarding Karma, Liberation from Karmic Bondage, Attaining Wisdom, Concept of God and others similar queries oblige me to say something on that which cannot be said.

Difference between knowledge and wisdom

Most of the time people use the word wisdom interchangeably with knowledge. But wisdom is completely different from knowledge. Knowledge is borrowed. Wisdom is your own. Knowledge comes from reading and listening and wisdom comes from experience.

So, I am not going to tell you the difference between knowledge and wisdom. On the other hand, I’d like you to experience the same on your own. For that, I’m sharing a story with you – the story, which you would have already heard in your childhood.

There lived a great sage who befriended some parrots. The parrots used to reside beside the sage’s cottage. The sage gave the parrots a mantra to save them from getting trapped in hunter’s trick. The parrots learnt the mantra by heart. They often used to sing it, “If a hunter will come, spread his net, put some grains on it, we will not get lured and trapped.”

Upon seeing these parrots sitting on a branch of a tree, a travelling hunter with the intention to trap them spread his net, put some grains on it and sat beneath the tree. Suddenly, the hunter heard them singing the same mantra. He got disappointed by knowing that the parrots had the knowledge of his intention and they would not get trapped by his trick.

Since he was tired, he decided to rest and took a nap there. When he awoke from his short sleep, to his surprise, the parrots were still singing the same mantra but inside his net of trap. By seeing that, he laughed. He laughed because he experienced the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Merits of doing good deeds

Many come to me with the belief that doing good deeds will liberate them from their Karmic Bondages. I have also seen some bloggers writing that doing well frees oneself from the cycle of rebirths. People often ask me “What is written in scriptures to do to attain enlightenment?”

Somewhat similar questions were asked to Bodhidharma founder of Zen by the great Emperor Wu founder of Liang Dynasty of Chinese history. The story goes like this:

When Bodhidharma entered in China, Emperor Wu, himself, came to receive him because the news of Bodhidharma’s enlightenment had reached before his actual arrival. Emperor was a religious person and did contribute a lot in spreading the words of Buddha. He was curious to know what would be his reward in return for his virtuous deeds. Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma “How much karmic merit have I earned for ordaining Buddhist monks, building monasteries, having sutras copied, and commissioning Buddha images?” Bodhidharma calmly replied “None. Good deeds done with an intention to get something in return bring good karma, but no merit.”

Emperor was surprised with Bodhidharma’s reply. He shot back “So what is the highest meaning of noble truth?” Bodhidharma answered “There is no noble truth, there is only emptiness.” Emperor, by that time, got annoyed and retorted “Then, who is standing before me?” Bodhidharma laughed and said, “Don’t know, Sir.”

Karma and Karmic Bondage

What is Karma? What is Karmic Bondage? Why is Karma said to be bondage?

Karma is a vicious cycle of action and its consequences. Good action brings good consequences; evil action brings evil consequences. There is no escape from this vicious Karmic Cycle unless someone is there to do actions and face their consequences.

Karma is said as bondage because it binds oneself to action and its consequences. Liberation from Karmic Bondage is not about doing good actions but to come out of the vicious circle of actions – action generating another action and so on.

Karma is a cage. It doesn't matter whether it is of gold or steel. A cage is a cage. Good actions are gold cages. You are not free from doing good actions. You are not free from the cycle of cause and its effects. Good actions generate good consequences; that's all. You have to come again and again; you have to reincarnate to avail the good consequences generated by your past actions.

Freedom is transcending Karma. Liberation is freedom from the consequences of action; freedom from the cycle of cause and its effects – action and its consequences.

Why good equals evil in the path of attaining enlightenment

Once upon a time, an eagle was chasing a dove. The dove, while being chased, approached a man for seeking help. The man agreed to save the dove and asked the dove to come by his side. Then, the eagle asked the man, “If you save the dove, what’ll I eat?” The man said the eagle to eat another dove. The eagle asked the man, “Why’ll another dove die to save this dove?” So the man advised the eagle to eat a rat. Then, the eagle asked, “Why’ll a rat die to save this dove?” Finally, the man asked the eagle to eat him. The eagle laughed and said to the man, “How long can you feed me? Sooner or later after your death, I’ll eat this dove.”

The eagle found that the man was unnecessarily delaying and concluded him as extremely evil. But the dove found the man extremely good.

Look at these words: evil and good; both are attributed to the same man. What should the man do? If the man saves the dove, he’s depriving the eagle from its food and indirectly compelling the eagle to die of starvation. And, if he doesn’t save the dove, he’s indirectly helping the eagle in its killing because he can save it easily. What is good or right in this situation?

Good and evil or right and wrong aren’t absolute distinction but individual’s perspectives. What seems good to you may seem evil to others. They remain with individuals as long individuals exist and changes with individuality.

What to do to liberate from Karmic Bondage

One is not going to be free from Karmic Bondage unless one involves oneself in Karmic interactions. When ONE stops doing, he is liberated. Try to grab my words very carefully. My emphasis is not on doing but on one who is doing – the Doer. All the consequences have to be faced by the Doer. Generally, it is taken otherwise in terms of doing. Doing will carry on. Action will continue but there will be no doer to take the consequences of the action; there will be no individual remaining to attribute good or evil to him.

Remember when Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma, “Who is standing before me,” what did Bodhidharma reply? He said, “Don’t know;” he didn’t say, “I don’t know.” There wasn’t any trace of I-sense left within Bodhidharma.

It is I-sense which holds the attribution of good or evil; it is the I-sense which does actions and avails their consequences; it is this I-sense which is bound by Karma. The moment one renounces his ego of doer, he is enlightened, he is liberated from Karmic Bondage, and he becomes free from the cycle of rebirths.

Controlling is not wisdom

I often hear people saying that in State of Highest Wisdom, one stays calm, remains unaffected and steady in the state of both happiness and misery. So do not feel happy in happiness and miserable in misery.

Well, I agree with first part i.e. the definition of highest state of wisdom but find flaws and loopholes in the suggested path to attain it.

Actually, the problem is we have seen actions going on their own only in inanimate objects. We have seen the actions of only planets and other celestial bodies on their own. Science does not believe in creator theory; it believes that every activities of Universe are going on its own. We, a strong believer of science, start to believe that an action is possible without a doer and then read in scriptures that it is the highest state of wisdom. We begin to find a way to attain this state of non-doer.

We start to search what to do to attain the state of non-doer. From here, our misery begins. Our logical mind correlates inanimateness with highest state of wisdom and finds insensitivity as the way to attain it; that is why, advocates not to feel happy in happiness and miserable in misery.

Violation of basics

The advocacy of control violates the basic principles and requirements such as:

  1. State of highest wisdom is not about the state of unconsciousness like zombies but to attain a state of full consciousness – Superconsciousness.
  2. It is not about insensitiveness to pain and pleasure but transcendence of both.
  3. It is not about controlling behaviour but to attain a state of non-doer.
  4. It is not about I-sense but egolessness.
  5. It is not a state of mind but a state beyond mind.
  6. It is not about logic but a state of no-thought.

Performance without a performer

The question is not about what to do; the question ought to be how to do. There exists another way – a flawless path to attain State of Supreme Wisdom – the Path of Conscious Activity. It says that it doesn’t matter what you do, just do it consciously with full awareness.

Have you ever driven vehicles at a very high speed? Do you have any memories at that time while driving at such high speed? Do you ever feel that you are driving while driving at tremendous speed?

While performing any action with full consciousness, feelings cease. Feelings are the result of divided consciousness. Feelings are associated with self. When there is no self, there exist no feelings. Who is there to feel? Who will feel when no one remains?

Someone might experience the state of highest wisdom while driving at a very high speed. Driving at very high speed needs full consciousness to avoid accidents. Full consciousness means, no thinking; no thinking means no feelings; no feelings means no memories. Memories belong to self, so there is no self also while driving at high speed because you also don’t remember that you are driving. Because this very thought of driving may also distract and lead to accident. So, one thing is clear that when you are driving at such high speed you are also not present. The only statement could be passed is that driving is going on but there is no driver.

Infants are form of God

Driver’s face is reflecting the innocence of egolessness – Buddhahood in those moments of driving. It could be seen in the same manner as seen on the face of infants. Infants are pure, innocent, egoless. They are born without any sense of self. Researchers have proposed that children do not develop self-recognition skills and a personal identity until the age of 16-24 months.

Whatever infants do, they do with full consciousness. If they are crying, they become the cry. If they are laughing, they become the laugh. There lies no divided consciousness with them. Their crying or laughing is not the result of some emotional outburst but is the natural state of their being.

Live life as an actor

The world is a drama and everyone is playing a role in it as actor.

Have you seen actors playing their role on screen? Doesn’t their cry appear real? Do they cry in real? What do you think?

Yes, their cry appears real. Most use glycerine to shed tears. But the great actors do not need glycerine to shed tears. They just enter into the scene and given character, tears start to roll down their cheeks. They just empathize with the given character and tears begin to flow but after the shot they aren’t sad over what has happened with the character. They just give their 100% to shot and that is it. Same is the condition with happy scenes.

Misery begins when actors indulge in something which they are not supposed to do; when they mix the given role with their own real characters; when they start to play their role outside the plot.

Actors weep and laugh, but tears and laughter don’t bind them; actors remain untouched by them. When they love they do not love, when they fights they do not fight; they are never involved in their roles as worldly people are. They play a friend and a foe without being involved in friendship and enmity. They practice attachment and detachment simultaneously.

Where most people miss

When Hui Neng went to his master for seeking enlightenment, the master asked, “Do you want to know about enlightenment or attain enlightenment?” Hui Neng replied, “What do I do with knowledge of enlightenment? I have come to attain enlightenment.” The master said, “Okay, go help in the kitchen, and do not come again to me. Whenever it will be needed, I will come to you.”

No meditation was given to Hui Neng, no scriptures to read, no rituals to practice. Nothing was taught to him, he was just thrown into the kitchen.

Many years passed. Hui Neng obeyed his master and didn’t go to him again. He was simply doing the job assigned to him consciously. He was pounding rice and doing other works in the kitchen.

The master was about to die, the time had come to choose his successor, so he announced, “Those who think they are enlightened should compose a small poem of four lines. In those four lines you should put all that you have gained. And if the lines show that enlightenment has happened, I will choose the person as my successor.”

There was a great scholar in the monastery, and no one attempted the poem because everyone knew that he was going to win. He was a great knower of scriptures. He wrote something like this: “Mind is like a mirror, and dust gathers on it. Do not let the dust collect on it, clean it regularly and who knows this is enlightened.”

News spread that great poem had been written. Fellow disciples found it beautiful. They believed that it contained the very essence of all the scriptures – mind is like a mirror, and dust gathers on it; remove the dust, and you are enlightened. But master was not happy with the poem.

Murmuring started in the monastery among disciples that despite telling the whole gist of all the Vedas in just four lines, why was the master not happy? What more did he want?

The discussion also reached Hui Neng’s ears. He heard what had happened. The moment he heard those four lines, he laughed. So someone asked, “Why are you laughing, you fool? You do not know anything; you have been serving in the kitchen since the day you came here. What makes you laugh?”

Hui Neng said, “I don’t know how to write, and I am not an enlightened one either, but these lines are wrong. So if someone writes on my behalf, I can suggest the four lines.” He dictated, “There is no mind and there is no mirror, so where can the dust gather? One who knows this is enlightened.” And he was selected by the master as his successor.

Highest Wisdom is illogical by nature

Hui Neng was one of the greatest masters ever born. He gave the Koan. Koan means an absurd question which cannot be answered, any way you try. It is unanswerable. And one has to meditate on that unanswerable question. And when you think about that which cannot be thought, by and by, slowly and gradually, thinking becomes impossible. One day, suddenly the whole structure of thinking falls – shattered. Suddenly you are in a state of no-thought. That’s what highest state of wisdom is.

So I leave you with Penrose Triangle to think upon it and get established in the State of Highest Wisdom.

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

1 Understanding That Will Transform Your Life Forever

To change the world, you need only perceive it in a different light.

~ Dr. Walter Doyle Staples

Hi Friends

Wish You a Very Happy, Prosperous and Healthy 2015! May This Year Bestow Peace and Wisdom to All of Us!

When I was thinking, which topic to start the New Year, I received a mail from Christie. I helped Christie, sometime ago, in setting priority in her life and gave the mantra: “Live by Priority.” In the recent mail, she asked me this beautiful question:

What is the one thing that I recommend her to work on this year to make her life better and happier?

I found the idea wonderful and decided to share that one thing with you too which I recommended to Christie. I didn’t ask her to work on some tough mental or physical exercise, which required willpower, to ease her stress or pain in difficult times.

Is willpower at our will?

I don’t think so. I read some self-help books which say to apply willpower in every matter as if there is some switch to turn our willpower on or off.

I didn’t ask her to be optimistic to enjoy happiness. After all, what is optimism? Optimism is a condition in which a person knows that he is in trouble and there is no way out but he has to expect the best; he has to believe that good will eventually triumph over evil – clouds of difficulty will part away on its own.

It is easy to talk about being optimistic and to apply willpower, but is it easy practically?

Interpretation is everything

Today, I’m going to share something more fundamental than these. I’m going to share with you a concept – the moment you grasp it fully, you will transform into a better and happier person forever. You don’t have to do anything; you just have to understand it; mere reading won’t serve the purpose. You have to, consciously, take it deep into your subconscious.

Let’s find out what that concept is! Look at the lines of the beautiful haiku, written by Kokila Gupta Pioneer of Hindi Haiku, below:

the kettle shattered
all scattered topsy turvy
my kids are awake!

What do you draw from these lines? Let me tell you what I got from these:

Sad interpretation of the haiku

At first glance, I see a mother, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, who brings morning tea for her children. She couldn’t control the tremors in her hands, and kettle made up of bone china shatters on the ground. Her children awake from the noise. This event scatters all her hopes and dreams. Her life becomes topsy-turvy.

She doesn’t want to reveal her helplessness to them. Mother is a symbol of strength. Whenever we face any trouble and difficulty in life, most of us remember our mother. This is because we know that our mother had faced so much pain to bring us to this world and when she knows that we are in trouble, she could do anything to save us from any difficulty; she would even jump in fire to save our lives.

Her peace scatters. She is worried, “If she couldn’t control a kettle – even tremors in her hand, how will she save her children in difficulties?” She is thinking, “Now, it’s been revealed to her children; how do they believe that their mother will come to their rescue in difficult times?”

This meaning is sad and heart-wrenching, but is this the only meaning?

No. Let’s have a look on this:

Happy interpretation of the haiku

Mother always keeps the things at their proper place. She maintains a state of order in house. Children are always shouting and asking their mother about their things because they place their things anywhere and then forget where they have put those things. Mother collects those things from odd places and put them to their proper places.

Scattered things may be taken as a sign that children are present there. If we look from this perspective, they only indicate the presence of children in their active mode.

Now, I see a mother who enters in their children’s room at night to put scattered toys and other things at their proper place. She takes the teddy out of the bed and put blankets over her children to ensure their good sleep. She brings order in that room and leaves the room after switching the lights off.

When she comes in the morning, she sees toy kettle is shattered and all toys are again scattered around the room. Her children are awake and playing with them. She is thinking that all her yesterday’s hard work went into vain; she has to do it again. But she is not angry. Instead, she is happy. There is a smile on her face and that smile could not be put in words. In words of Hellen Keller, “The most and best beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

This meaning is positive and pleasant, but could there be any other perspectives?

Yes. What do you say about this?

Interpretation beyond happiness and sorrow

The kettle shattered means Big Bang happened – the Universe was created. All scattered topsy-turvy could be seen as the concept of Universe as Upside Down Tree, espoused in Geeta. And, we, human beings – children of God, are supposed to be awakened to see the order amid chaos.

Doctrine of Upside Down Tree

What is the meaning of Universe as Upside Down Tree? What is the need to compare the Universe with an Upside Down Tree? What does it indicate?

It simply indicates that what we see outside is mere projection of ourselves; they are just echo of our own sounds.

I heard a story of a boy who once got angry with his mother and ran out of the house to the valley shouting at her “I hate you, I hate you.....” At valley, he heard the same voice echoing back. He got frightened and ran back to his mother for comfort and protection. He knows, somewhere in his subconscious, “Putro kuputro jayate, kumata na bhavati,” which means a child could be a bad child but no bad mother exists.

He went to her and said there lived a bad boy in the valley who yelled “I hate you, I hate you.....” Mother understood his predicament. She knew that he got scared from his own echo. We too get scared from our own echo and believe that someone is yelling at us.

Mother advised him to go again to the valley and say aloud “I love you, I love you....” He went and said; this time, to his surprise, he heard back, “I love you, I love you....” This taught a lesson to him that what you hear is the reflection of your own mood.

The concept of Inverted Tree is an indication that what we believe is true, in general, is not actually the truth; what we see in mirror is not the actual entity but only the reflection of ourselves. The meanings we draw, in our day to day life, come from within not from outside.

Knowledge is interpretation

Do you think the meanings I got from those lines lie in them? Do you think those lines are saying that meanings lie outside the lines?

Well, we can never know what those lines are saying; we can only know what we get from those lines. It’s worth repeating, “We can never know what others say; we can only know what we hear.”

Let it understand very clearly. The moment you understand it clearly, your life transforms. You cannot be the same person after realizing it in entirety. There is no way to remain the same.

Do objects have colour

We can only know through our senses. All the information collected by our senses comes before mind for interpretation. All the things we believe we know are only our interpretations. A normal human being interprets many colours in the information collected by his eyes. On the other hand, a colour blind cannot interpret colours in the same way as interpreted by a normal one in the information collected by his eyes.

What do you think colours lie in objects or within us? What do you think could you ever know the actual colour of any object?

Do words have meaning

We can never know anything outside of us; what we feel about outside of us is only our interpretation of outside and most of it is influenced by our state of mind. What we see, hear or feel is only reflection of our own mental state.

My first interpretation of those lines came just after watching the movie: “Love and other drugs.” Heroine in the movie is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In a scene, a glass tumbler drops on ground and shatters because she couldn’t stop the tremors in her hands. My mind was under the influence of thoughts of Parkinson’s and tremors in hands at the time of interpretation.

My second interpretation was made after reading other reader’s comments on the post. At that time, some other thoughts were dominating my mind.

When I read those lines third time, I was in entirely different mental state because I had just finished my evening meditation. All my interpretations are reflections of my mental state.

Mind is a projector

The Doctrine of Upside Down Tree states what we see as upright is actually inverted and vice versa. The doctrine also states that to see the things upright, we have to invert ourselves – we have to reverse our focus of observation. We have to look within to find happiness instead of searching outside. That is why; Gandhiji said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Let it understand in this way. The outside Universe is just a projection as the projection on cinema screen. You cannot bring change in the cinema by altering the screen. What is seen on the screen is projected by a projector. Our mind plays the role of a projector. But projector is not enough; we need reel to feed in the projector for projection. Our thoughts serve the purpose of reel. What we feed to our mind is projected outside.

To bring the change outside, we have to change inside by giving conscious thoughts to our mind. Under the influence of different thoughts, our mind interprets the same thing differently.

Outcome of reasoning are not facts

Once, a man spat on Buddha’s face. All Buddha’s disciple wanted to teach the man a lesson. But Buddha stopped his disciples from attacking him and let him go. At night, when the man was thinking about the incidence, he realized the blunder he did that morning. He comprehended how kind Buddha was! How Buddha save him! He couldn’t contend himself; tears burst from his eyes cats and dogs. He cried whole night out of repentance. He couldn’t sleep that night; his eyes had become red and swollen.

In early morning of next day, the man decided to go to Buddha for asking forgiveness. Upon seeing him entering the premise with swollen red eyes, Buddha’s disciple reasoned that this is because of his anger and hatred against Buddha and startled towards him with the intention to punish him. But, in fact, their interpretation was influenced by their own hatred and anger against the man. They were just seeing their own feeling of hatred and anger in his eyes. What they were seeing in his eyes was the reflection of their own mental state.

Buddha intervened and saved him once more. The man fell on Buddha’s feet, tears again started to gush down his cheeks. Buddha said to his disciples, “See the man; he is now a changed person. He is not the man who spat on me yesterday; otherwise, he would not have fallen on my feet. Transformation occurs within a moment by conscious understanding and realization.”

Why the same eyes appeared differently to Buddha and his disciples? Is that because they were in different mental state?

Taking responsibility is the key

Understand that you have the power over circumstances. It is you who define circumstances. It is you who put meaning in everything. It is you who define the rules of your happiness and sorrow. It is you who define the terms of your victory and defeat. You are the master of yourself. No one has power over you. It is you only who give others the power over yourself.

Next time, when you feel unpleasant over something, realize it is your own unpleasant mood that is reflecting in that particular thing or circumstances. Your realization, itself, instantly calms the unpleasant feeling within you. But the irony is you cannot realize immediately at an excited state that what you are facing is the projection of your own state of mind which is under your control.

Here is a solution for it: Whenever you find yourself in an excited state, try to relieve your mind from that state by regulating your breathing pattern – breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly. Breathe from diaphragm more than the upper chest. This abdominal breathing is one of the best relaxation techniques.

After gaining your composure, switch your mind to pleasant state by reminding yourself of some pleasant experiences of your past.

You may have experienced tears in your eyes and sulky mood when reliving some sad experiences of past. The same is true with reliving positive experiences, such as remembering the overall sense of well-being that comes from being deeply happy. This is because good memories can cause the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure.

I not only recommend you to switch your mind from unpleasant mood to pleasant one, but also advise you to switch your mind occasionally from happy to sad state of mind; so that you know you have absolute power over yourself and the circumstances around you. And happiness and sorrow are nothing but your state of mind which is under your direct control.

Define your happiness

It is not the circumstances that affect your life. It is not the circumstances that give you the feeling of success or failure, love or hatred, happiness or sorrow. It is the MEANING YOU DEFINE out of circumstances that determines your feeling of pleasure or pain.

I know a couple who used to fight with each other on small things. Their relationship was on the verge of collapse. In fact, they decided to live a separate life but couldn't live separately for more than three months. Their problem was that they couldn't stop fighting each other and they also couldn't leave each other. They finally realized that the problem lies in the definition: what they earlier defined as fighting, they now defined it as expression of love. The problem resolved and they began to live happily.

There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers.

~ Erich Fromm

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